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Cheap, Everyday Eats in Carroll Gardens

I just moved from Union Sq/East Village to Carroll Gardens, and I'm trying to find about a dozen everyday places that I can eat. I know that Smith Street has tons of great restaurants, but most of them are pretty expensive, and not the sort of everyday fare I'm looking for. I've also seen many good delis, but they appear to be closed after 6 on weekdays, which is a problem.

So where do you go out to eat everyday? I've found Zaytoon's and this little place with fried chicken on Degraw and Clinton. But I've only been here for a week.

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  1. If you venture a bit further into Cobble Hill there's Waterfalls on Atlantic between Clinton and Henry. Also if you walk down Union, past Hicks into the beginnings of Red Hook there are several places--Ferdinandos Foccaceria, Schnack, and some other places on Columbia--Margaret Palca Bakes, an Australian savory pie place are a few that stick in my mind.

    1. Joya on Court Street is the best of the neighborhood Thai places in my opinion. Easy take out. Also good for a quick bite or take out is Cafe Cubana on Smith Street. Lots of under $10 options.

      1. Dinner takeout, especially of the cheap variety, is not Carroll Gardens' strength.

        That said, if you like sandwiches for dinner, try Hanco on Bergen and Smith. They've got $4 bahn-mi which are among the best in the city. I'll also second Waterfalls and the Union St crawl, but I think Cubana Cafe is bland and awful.

        You might also find this thread interesting.

        Waterfalls Cafe
        144 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11201

        85 Bergen St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

        215 Court St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

        Cubana Cafe
        272 Smith St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

        3 Replies
        1. re: oolah

          definately hit EM, the thai joint right next to Po. their weekday lunch special is only 7 bux and awesome. i eat it many times a week. also, even if you venture off of the lunch special menu, everything is a really good value. some of the nicest help in town, too.

          1. re: ben61820

            good to know, i have been wanting to try it. any stand out dishes?

            1. re: kam0424

              anything with duck is great there (esp the duck roti). Em is much much better than Joya.

              to chime in on other stuff --

              pizza at Layla Jones
              savory pies at Damascus (meat / chicken / spinach and feta / etc)
              falafel wraps at Sinaa
              Hancos for bahn mi
              lunch specials at Chance
              won ton soup from Me and My Egg Roll
              panini pressed sandwiches at Chop Chop

              and if you want a more substantial meal, try the prix fixe bargains on Smith Street at Saul, Chestnut, Patois, etc.

        2. Thanks everyone. I'm going to try these places. Anyone else have suggestions? Are there places in Park Slope that'll do delivery to Carroll Gardens? I'm totally new to the area, but I guess to those others who are also new, you would be remiss to not check out the food vendors at the Red Hook ballfields. Now that's some good food: http://events.nytimes.com/2006/08/23/...

          3 Replies
          1. re: eatingsteve

            The Thai and Indian places are generally cheap. I like EM better than Joya and Raga is my favorite Indian in the area (Bergen and Smith). I'm not sure what you consider cheap, but I really like Apartment 138 (also near Bergen & Smith). They have a ton of entrees in the $9 range. Chance (slightly upscale Chinese fusion) has a great lunch special. People here always talk about Joe's Superette and their rice balls. I guess it's a deli - I don't know how to categorize it, but it's an interesting place (Smith St. near 1st).

            1. re: eatingsteve

              There's also a new place called "Jessie's Kitchen" right across from the Met on Smith. Someone posted positive comments about it a few weeks ago and we tried a pepper/sausage and onion hero that was a bit greasy but very flavorful. It has a bright blue and yellow awning.

              1. re: dimples

                yeah, jessies is FINALLY open. i mean, i been waiting for them forever. good for them. hope they do well. imo, their aesthetic is bit...off. it looks kind of amazon cafe, no? havent eaten there yet.

            2. DUB pies, mentioned above, delivers throughout Carroll Gardens, which can be useful if you live on Hoyt or something and don't feel like walking to Columbia. while many don't like it, I do like the taqueria on Bergen and Court for burritos and such (prefer it to Buddy's which is lower on Court.) not supercheap, but if you want to grab some bread and cheese after 6, Stinky on Sackett (?) and Smith, a cheese store with some other items like deli meats and cheeses, is open until 8. agree that Zaytoons is by far the best takeout option in the area.

              5 Replies
              1. re: eeee

                I like Fatoosh on Hicks just off Atlantic (Brooklyn Heights side), I go for the rather large portion of grilled chicken, comes with several sides, for about $8, they also have shrimp, falafel, pitzas, little place that's always pretty busy when I go, one of my regular everyday dinner spots.

                I'l also second Joya, I take out from there probably once a week. It's very good, not amazing, but very cheap and extremely quick.

                For a reasonably priced fairly quick pasta dish I head to Sal's on Court and Degraw

                1. re: eeee

                  I am not a fan of the taqueria on court and bergen and do prefer buddy's. I find the taqueria tasteless - I would try both so you can decide. Zaytoon's is fantastic but not cheap. And the fried chicken place is called Chicory which hasnt let us down yet but I dont eat chicken. Brooklyn Bread way down court is fantastic (I am not sure if they deliver). EM is great as well- try the spicy basil noodles. World Pie does a nice grandma pie also on lower court. And there is always the Park Natural the mini-super on court as well. I second Hanco's - I also like bedouin tent on Atlantic and the indian place on court close to atlantic across from the pet store does a really good vegetable roti - very cheap, I cant vouch for the rest of their food. And I love Naidre's on Henry - they have the best breakfast burrito and donut plant lavender donuts.

                  1. re: Ljubitca

                    We agree on Mexican and also dislike the Taqueria and like Buddy’s (Court off of Kane). IMO the Taqueria has a location and that’s it. I chuckle at all the people trying to look cool eating in front (and not succeeding I might add). Mexicali on Court just off Atlantic is also better option and should deliver to CG. We like Lobo (Court & Warren) for drinks and the bar is pretty cool (The owner told me how it was made) but that’s about it – all their dishes taste the same to me. For good smoothies, homemade juices and decent sandwiches you should try Nectar (Court off of Wycoff). Chicory (Degraw bet. Court & Clinton) has an assortment of homemade food fit for takeout and their chicken is good. For Thai we like Lemongrass, on Court (near the CVS on Pacific). We takeout their all the time and it does the job. We like the Cuban Café but man that space is tight, so don’t take a date, a spy or your blabby co-workers there unless you want all the tables around you hearing every word.

                    1. re: MShapiro

                      I tried Mexicali for the first time last week and was extremely disappointed. I had the seafood stew dish and it was extremely bland and the shellfish was clearly poor quality. Service took forever, and it took 15 minutes to get our check.

                      And Taqueria is awful too.

                    2. re: Ljubitca

                      i agree with bedouin tent, get the chicken pita and the stuffed grape leaves!

                  2. Afew other places that have made it into our somewhat regular delivery rotation:

                    Fragole for good pasta and salads (I am probably a bigger fan of this place than some others on this board);
                    Hunan Delight in PS will deliver to CG for only okay American Chinese food;
                    Chance on Smith for decent lunch boxes;
                    PJ Hanley's will rarely deliver but you can pick up and take out above average bar food, burgers, wings, etc.
                    Union Smith Cafe has some solid delivery choices.
                    Lucali's on Henry for amazing pizza has been doing a pretty regular take out service recently, well worth it but call ahead - sometimes they put restrictions on take out times.
                    Agree on Chickory, really fills a void as far as delivery goes. Avoid all Mexican and most Chinese places. Welcome to the nabe.

                    1. If you don't want to deal w/ the wait at Lucali (which I strongly recommend you do -- it's worth it), Nino's on the corner of Union and Henry has serviceable and tasty (won't blow your socks off, but if you're hungry, in a hurry, and on a budget, it's good) Italian. In addition to slices, they've got a cafeteria-style line-up of Italian dishes, ranging from spag / meatballs to tripe. And they do deliver.

                      1. I love Chowhounders--you guys are seriously the best.

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: eatingsteve

                          Go to Joes' Perette (sp...I think their sign even gets it wrong) on Smith St. It's a shabby deli with minimal stock, but the rice balls (I think they have 4 varieties...my favorite the sauce and chopped meat) are so delicious. You grab 5 or 6 of those (they're 50 cents a piece) and you're full. Grab an italian ice on Court St. to finish off the meal.
                          Another great local spot for take-out or casual dining is Vinny's on Smith. This place doesn't get a lot of talk on CH, but the food is what red-sauce Italian is all about.
                          Hanco's is great, that's one place that I crave. I love the pork bahn mi. One sandwich is cheap and filling.
                          Also, check out some of the Spanish places on Smith. They existed long before the gentrification and have consistently served up authentic Latin cooking.

                          1. re: ChowDiva

                            I agree with you. Joe's has great rice balls, vinny's is good for takeout, tho the food is not spectacular (I like the spag and meatballs with meat sauce and the fried fish hero) and the dominican places are good and cheap. I prefer cibao, but nuevo portal is also decent. I like both of them better than Cafe Cubana, or whatever it's called.

                            if you want to eat out, I like fragole and it's a good place to have wine, pasta and/or salad by yourself. If you want a mixed drink with your meal, try Frankie's instead.

                            Also, if you stick to the dim sum, apps, and sides, chance is good and cheap. The portions for the apps and sides are big and filling.

                            IMHO, the best thai in the area is 9D on court street, but that's not saying much. I save my thai fix for sripraphai. I do like like Joya, but only for things that I don't think of as thai, like beef with broccoli.

                            I think both Benny's and California Taqueria are awful, except that Benny's has decent fish tacos. Better is Fast and Fresh on Hoyt btw. Atlantic and State? but i think they close early.

                            Hanco's is good and cheap, totally worth a visit.

                            Zaytoon's is decent, but not my fave middle eastern.

                            If you live near Columbia Street, House of Pizza and Calzone does a good grandma slice and great fried calzones, Pit Stop does a good burger, and a deli near moonshine bar (columbia and woodhull) does good middle eastern sandwiches and decent steam table middle eastern food. The guy who runs it is very very nice. There are tables inside the deli or you can get it to go and have it with a drink at moonshine.

                            1. re: missmasala

                              It's Buddy's. And they do a nice fish taco but its not on the menu - you have to ask for it their nachos are nice too.

                              1. re: missmasala

                                I like 9D for Thai too -- it's generally spicier and less sweet than the other locals. EM is also decent, but in general the Thai, Chinese, Indian and Mex in the neighborhood is pretty bad.

                                462 Court St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

                                VIP @Thai
                                278 Smith St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

                                House of Pizza and Calzone
                                132 Union St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

                                1. re: missmasala

                                  That deli next to Moonshine closed recently. Too bad, their falafel sandwiches were great.

                                  Has anyone mentioned Bagels by the Park, on Smith St at President St? Cozier than the average bagel place, great bagels and their tofu cream cheese is tasty. Has anyone tried the other sandwiches on the menu?

                                  FYI It can get chaotic in there; just know that you order everything in back and then wait in the front to get your food and pay.

                                  1. re: AndiAttack

                                    weve been there its convenient and it "all right" but its not really know for its bagels its really a sandwhich shop.

                                    1. re: AndiAttack

                                      wow, do you know the story with the deli? i loved that place, but haven't been in a couple of months because i haven't been around.

                                      That's a shame, it was a nice place for a good, cheap falafel sandwich.

                                      1. re: missmasala

                                        I think they just have a lot of turnaround - but never tried the falafel sandwich I leave you to chime in on that.

                                        1. re: missmasala

                                          I don't know but I bet someone at Moonshine or Jalopy nextdoor could tell you.

                                          By the way, the south end of Columbia Street is getting better and better! Jalopy just got their liquor license, the building nextdoor is planning to open some kind of restaurant and a block north there will be a new coffeehouse which will have beer and wine and evening performances.

                                2. its not a restaurant, but have you discovered the often-mentioned Sahadi's on atlantic at court? they have lots of ready to go food in the back at their display case, and tons of good snacks and cheese and gourmet stuff. try heading over to clinton st. and walk around, there are hidden restaurants and cafes down there, mixed in with the brownstones.

                                  1. To add to the other good recs made here: Osaka for sushi - reasonably priced, nice and fresh; Mai - Southeast Asian on Atlantic, good and delivers to Carroll Gardens; Hunan Delight in Park Slope - not amazing, but decent, relatively non-greasy veggie friendly Chinese delivers to Carroll Gardens; Le Petit Cafe

                                    1. Marquet Patisserie on Court & Warren has inexpensive sandwiches--$5 and $6 (basic, but cheap.) We also like "the Dave" sandwich at Fall Cafe on Smith St--cheap too. Savoia on Smith St has a great lunch special, Stinky has pretty good sandwiches for lunch, and Zaytoon's falafels are cheap too (love their spinach pie, schwarma, and zaatar bread also. And their rosewater pudding for dessert.) Tea Lounge has pressed sandwiches that are cheap too--their coffee drinks are pricey though.

                                      Jessie's Brooklyn Kitchen is my new favorite neighborhood takeout place, since it's all fresh, locally grown food--lunch is affordable but dinner is a bit expensive. I think it's worth it, though--had amazing salads and wild salmon there.

                                      Now if only there was a place in the neighborhood where I could get a good, fresh, homemade doughnut.

                                      7 Replies
                                      1. re: mandmbklyn

                                        You can get Donut Plant donuts at Cobblestone Foods on Court and Wyckoff. They're good and fresh, but not cheap. Cobblestone also has some fancy prepared foods and a great chocolate bar and cheese selection, but they're on the pricey side.

                                        1. re: oolah

                                          I've gotten Doughnut Plant ones at Naidre's and they didn't taste fresh at all...maybe I got there too late. Are they really fresh at Cobblestone Foods? Also, where can I get a good non-Dougnut-Plant doughnut in the neighborhood?

                                          1. re: mandmbklyn

                                            The Cobblestone foods one tasted fresh to me, but I won't make any pretenses about being a donut connoisseur.

                                            Don't think I've seen other donuts of the non-Dunkin™ variety in the neighborhood. Oddly enough, the one time I went to the Donut House on Court st, they had no donuts.

                                            1. re: oolah

                                              Indeed. I took my son to Donut House for our hot-chocolate-and-donut ritual, to find out that they do not have donuts on Sunday. I didn't know quite how to react to that :)

                                              1. re: cazique

                                                Yeah get there really early at naidre's and cobblestone for donuts - all donuts gets stale after a few hours exposed.

                                        2. re: mandmbklyn

                                          Naidre's also has donut plant donuts - they only carry lavender, chocolate, blueberry and regular glazed.

                                          1. re: mandmbklyn

                                            Does anybody know what time jesse's closes?

                                          2. I will be repeating things but...LUCALI'S: Since you live nearby, go on a weeknight (closed Tuesday, btw) early, or impulsively on a day with crappy weather, and you won't have to wait. I also like the pizza at SAM'S on Court, and the fried calzone at HOUSE OF PIZZA AND CALZONE. Naidre's sandwiches are good--the prepared food tends to sit around too long. Fried chicken at CHICORY is fantastic and just about all their food is tasty. Down on Atlantic, YEMEN CAFE is filling and lamb-centric! ZAYTOONS good, EM good. FRANKIE'S 457 is too much of scene for me sometimes, but brunch tend to be mellow and not too expensive. OSAKA is mobbed on weekends but I like their special rolls and they have lunch specials and delivery. Another thing to note that many restaurants that are a bit pricey have weekday prix fixe deals that are fantastic. Bouillabaise, Saul, the Italian place on Court and Kane, Quercy, etc usually have 3 courses and range from 20-25 bucks. Take the bus to Fairway for their $7 lobster roll. Chance has some inexpensive dim sum on weekends. Pit stop has two-for-one mussels and fries on Tuesday night. Etc etc